MontclairHotelFrom a 1908 Postcard

Before the Rockcliffe, there was the Hotel Montclair, also known as The Montclair. Opened on May 1, 1907, the hotel featured amenities such as a sunroom, an English grill, a bar, and an artesian well. The establishment, located on First Mountain on the border of Montclair and Verona, New Jersey, was managed by Paul Wilcox, a lawyer also instrumental in the founding of the Montclair Golf Club. It was accessible by carriage, as well as by automobile and trolley. After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, alcoholic beverages were made available in the hotel.  (adapted from Wikipedia).

Montclair was considered a climatic station and tourist venue from the 1830′s to around the 1930′s. There were numerous fine hotels. The stagecoach house had four arrivals and four departures each day. The Montclair Inn on Hillside Avenue was built to serve tourists who made pilgrimages to the main springs that were at the top of Hillside at South Mountain Avenue. They are directly under the Gates Mansion/Sweet Daddy Grace House. Old maps depict a horseshoe shaped spring structure. Stonebridge Road encircles what was once a tourist venue called Crystal Springs. The Rockcliffe, once the site of a five star hotel is built over active springs. Crystal Lake near Pals Cabin and the City of Newark Reservoir at the Mills Reservation are springs. Lots of water runs down Bloomfield Avenue from Crane’s Gap (Sunset Avenue). Source: Frank Gerard Godlewski  | Posted in Baristanet  SEPTEMBER 24, 2006 @ 8:57 PM

According to an article in the Montclair Times the hotel was primarily for summer visitors, had 128 rooms, with 100 more added in 1920.  “Mostly you went for an extended period of time,” said Mike Farrelly, the Montclair Township historian. The hotel’s major draw was access to the nearby Montclair Golf Club, while one of its better-known long-term guests was New Jersey’s 33rd governor, John Franklin Fort. The Montclair Hotel closed in 1938, and was demolished to make way for construction of the Rockcliffe in 1940.

The new building was constructed between 1939 and 1941 and converted to a co-op in 1981; control of the building was turned over to homeowners from the developer in 1987.

FROM THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS: Rockcliffe Apartments, Montclair, New Jersey. General entrance facade Digital ID: (intermediary roll film) gsc 5a07140  Reproduction Number: LC-G612-T-40341 (interpositive) Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA